Sunday, April 18, 2010


We got home around one this morning after a surprisingly pleasant trip. Because I'd booked my flights at the last minute, I'd originally been in a middle seat for the long Philly-San Francisco leg. I went up to a gate agent to make sure I'd be getting frequent-flyer points, since I didn't see my number anywhere on the ticket; when I explained why I'd booked in such haste, he got very quiet for a second and then said, "An aisle seat just opened up. Let me put you there."

Not only was it an aisle seat, but no one was next to me! As a result of all the room -- relatively speaking -- I got more grading done than I'd expected, since I could spread out a little. I'm still very behind, but I'm less behind than I was yesterday afternoon.

We arrived in San Francisco thirty-five minutes early (almost unheard-of for an East-West flight), and then learned that our Reno flight would be on the same plane, although we still had to get off and reboard. But it doesn't get much more convenient than that, and despite the Reno airport's perpetual baggage delays, we even retrieved our suitcases fairly quickly.

The cats are glad to have us home. Sleeping in our own bed again was blissful. Felicity Fiddle sounds about as good as she could after a week of no practice and no one home to fill the humidifier. It's a gorgeous day here: sunny and eighty degrees.

This morning, semi-miraculously, I woke up in time for church. It was nice to be back, but a lot of people didn't know about Mom, so the service felt a little surreal, too. When Dad died, everyone had been following the saga for months -- especially since he lived here -- and some church folks had even met him. At that time, we had a working parish listserv that gave me a way to keep everyone up to date. But Mom was across the country, and the listserv broke a while ago and has deliberately been kept out-of-order by our temporary rector, who felt that it was being used for back-channel conversation people should have been having at parish meetings. The clergy knew Mom had died last weekend, but there was no announcement, even though she was included in the Prayers of the People. I made an announcement today, just so everyone would know, but response was muted. Oh well. I wound up feeling a bit isolated, but I probably would have felt that way anyway, under the circumstances.

There were connections, though. One of the readings this morning was Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus, a text I always associate with Mom because Paul's feast day, January 25, was her AA anniversary. Also, throughout the service I'd been trying to chase down a quotation I vaguely remembered about no one being an orphan because God loves all of us. Lo and behold, our gradual hymn was "Allelujah, Sing to Jesus!" which includes the line, "Alleluia! not as orphans are we left in sorrow now." So that was pretty perfect.

After the service, I skipped out on a church business meeting (that kind of thing, important as it is, makes my teeth itch at the best of times, which this isn't) to go swimming. I'd gotten no exercise in Philly and was worried that my back might be on the verge of going out again. I felt much better after an hour of swimming.

Now I'm back home, staring at piles of grading I have to try to get done before tomorrow. (How much worse that situation would have been without the unexpected space on the plane!) I'll get the most important stuff done, I know. The rest may have to wait a while.

I'm trying to take very good care of myself, which means, among other things, not stressing about work if I can help it. I know people understand; I've gotten kind cards and e-mails from colleagues and students, and I'm grateful for everyone's sympathy. I have to say, though, that I'll be very glad when the semester's over!


  1. Yes, keep taking care of yourself.

    And the semester IS almost over. (I'm not even a teacher, but I want it over too.)

  2. It's actually good to be very busy for a little while. Ease out of work and into rest VERY gradually. That sudden nothingness can cause everything to oome crashing in on you. If possible, plan a little something definite to keep your mind occupied when the semester is over. It's not that you don't want to think, it's just that you don't want to think TOO much.
    Keeping good thoughts for you.

  3. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Welcome home, Susan! As I embark on a stack of grading myself, I wish you the very best of luck with yours.



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